The Sacred Duty of Serving Behind the Scenes

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

It’s unlikely that you will ever hear a sermon where the long lists of names in the Bible are given any mention, but don’t forget that by their inclusion in scripture they have been “given their props” in God’s eternal record. Furthermore they have been listed for us as a reminder that it takes a team to do the work of the Kingdom. For sure, there are leading characters on every Kingdom team, but it’s still a team, made up mostly of unnamed, unsung heroes who are typically forgotten—except by God. God never forgets! He appreciates the contributions of each and every one—even the lesser lights—and for them, he has stored up indescribable recognition and incomparable reward in the Kingdom to come.

Going Deep // Focus: 1 Chronicles 26:6-8, 12-13

Obed-edom’s son Shemaiah had sons with great ability who earned positions of great authority in the clan. Their names were Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad. Their relatives, Elihu and Semakiah, were also very capable men. All of these descendants of Obed-edom, including their sons and grandsons—sixty-two of them in all—were very capable men, well qualified for their work….These divisions of the gatekeepers were named for their family leaders, and like the other Levites, they served at the house of the Lord. They were assigned by families for guard duty at the various gates, without regard to age or training, for it was all decided by means of sacred lots.

So just who was Obed-Edom, and Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad, and the other sixty-two of their clan? We don’t really know, except that they were gatekeepers in the house of the Lord—the “tent” that King David set up in Jerusalem to centralize Israel’s worship of Almighty God.

We don’t know much about Obed-Edom or any of the other people the chronicler names in this chapter. And this isn’t the first time he has treated us to such a list. He is famous for that, which is why his book is called Chronicles. But why force us to read all these mostly meaningless names?

Simply this: Both the chronicler and King David, who supplied these names, knew very well that the work of administrating the country, and running the house of God, couldn’t have done it without the help of a lot of loyal and skilled people. If David were accepting an Oscar, he would be up there for thirty minutes listing off all the people he would like to thank—these names and many others mentioned in this book.

It is highly likely that you will never hear a sermon or attend a Bible study where these names are given any mention, but don’t forget that they have been given their props in the eternal Word of God. My point is, it takes a team to do the work of the Kingdom. For sure, there are leading characters on the Kingdom team, but it’s still a team, mostly of unnamed, unsung heroes who are typically forgotten—except by God.

God never forgets. He appreciates the contributions of each and every one—even the lesser lights. And he has stored up indescribable recognition and rewards for them in the Kingdom to come. And the chronicler’s mention of them here is an important reminder to us of their contribution to their efforts and of their value to God.

Maybe you are one of those unnamed, unsung heroes who goes unnoticed by everyone else, but your faithfulness is noticed by God. Perhaps you are an Obed-Edom, or Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad, or even one the other sixty-two of their clan who didn’t even get their name in the movie credits that roll on the film long after the audience has left the theater, and you wonder if you really matter. My response to you is, “Yes, you matter. We wouldn’t be effective in building God’s Kingdom without you! It takes a team—and no matter what you do, you are an integral part of that team!”

But more important than my acknowledgement is God’s. He has written your name in a book, too—one that’s even better than 1 Chronicles. It’s the Book of Life. And God himself will celebrate your name all eternity long. How’s that for recognition.

So just be faithful doing what you’re doing. Your day is coming!

Going Deeper With God: Offer this prayer of gratitude to the Lord for the unsung heroes with which he has blessed your life: “Lord, I thank you for all of the unsung heroes who have quietly but faithfully built your Kingdom throughout my life. [Name some of them.] They are now gone, and have mostly been forgotten on this planet, but they are not forgotten by you. They have joined the unending list of others long gone but not forgotten by you. They are the spiritual fathers and mothers of others who now serve in your eternal kingdom quietly but faithfully. Father, bless each one. Wrap your arms around them and remind them again that you noticed. And say ‘thank you’ for me.”

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